Updates and hellos


Hello my dear blog friends,

It's been a while since I last wrote you. And I'm missing you and our Simply Neutrals gatherings! And my stash of yummy fabrics and laces, the needles and threads, the papers and glues, making mixed media books... But alas, no time at the moment... Alsn alas no time yet to have another Simply Neutrals party, I'm really sorry.

At the moment I'm over my head in illustration work (as in work I do for study purposes, not for paid jobs yet unfortunately). I hardly have time or energy left to be social besides family time and the social media side of following an intensive year long online study and trying to set up my illustration business. But I thought you might like to get an update on what's going on here and why I am so silent :)

So here it is.




Recently I worked hard on the children's book part of the year course at Make Art That Sells. This is for a story written by art director Zoë Tucker (she wrote it especially for class) about a pack of wolves and a little girl. The wolves are really naugthy and destroying the forest by their reckless behavior. They also eat way too much and grow bigger and bigger and bigger... And that's where this page spread comes in. I took that sentence a little further and imagined that the wolves were getting so big that they took up all the forest, nay, they become the forest themselves! :)




And here is the cover I created for this story.

There is a whole lot more work I did for this class, but I'll keep it at these two.

These last two years I have learned so much, it's crazy! I love experimenting with all kinds of art supplies and techniques and love to explore the internet, searching for how-tos and style/art inspiration. The MATS classes are not these kind of classes, it's not about learning the drawing and painting skills in itself. It's more about what is needed to improve your art in such a way that it will sell in specific industries where they need illustrations. Like kidlit, home decor, editorial, the gift market, etc.

Here is something I did for an edittorial assignment.




It was the first time I was really experimenting with a more neutral palette and with drawing techniques. Up till then my work was full of colour (every colour under the sun) and I had been working mostly digitally in the months before. I didn't like what I was creating digitally, so I swapped the digital pen for the real stuff and experimented with pastels, pencils, charcoals, crayons, paints, etc.

What I learned these last couple of months is to create so called icons, loose elements, and textures, and combine them in a piece digitally later on. So for example, the elements you see in the picture above (the red pepper, the pepper pieces, the soy bottle, the dish and spoon, I created seperately. And then I use photoshop to create a picture with them.

This is also how I created the work for the children's book class. It's layers and layers of textures and icons that I drew and painted and then created those illustrations with in photoshop. I could create a whole online course with this topic. May be some day I will :)

It's my background in mixed media that helps me work this way. I'm really grateful for all the generous peeps out there that shared their mixed media and art journaling tips and tricks!

Right now I'm busy creating for home decor class and this is how my floor looks...




So these are all loose elements and some textures (but usually I fill a whole page with one texture, created in paints and or pencils or other materials). Not all of these will make it to the work I'm doing for home decor class at the moment. Most of them won't. But I scan all these and grow my library of icons which I can use at a later time.

Oh gosh, I find this such a fascinating topic, I'm really getting inspired to create a class about it! I love teaching these kind of things and get asked in class about my work process... but I don't have time at the moment to create an online class, let alone host it! Aaarrrgghhh :) And I'd also love to create things for art journaling, mixed media, and scrapbooking. Like stamps and other usable goodies. There is seriously not enough time in a day!

Anyway, that was a lot of info for this update. Once I start talking....

I hope all is well with you! I'm really sorry I've been so MIA on your blogs... I really hope I'll be able to do Simply Neutral parties again. I'll keep you updated, once in a while :)

For now, wishing you a happy day and sending you big hugs!

xx Wen


Simply Neutrals #55 - taking a break


mixed media illustration by Wen Sylvestre


Hello dear friends,

Believe it or not, it's the first Tuesday of the month again, so it's Simply Neutrals time!

So, I've been busy with creating illustratrions for some months now, but I felt there was something I was missing in my work... And now I know! I was missing playing with mixed media and fiber stuff and pressed flowers and leaves and such!

I've been thinking about how I could incorperate my love for mixing all kinds of media into my world of illustration. So I'm experimenting a lot! I shared one of the first of these experiments in an earlier post, which you can find here. I liked it so much that I wanted to do more with these kind of things. And today I'm sharing another one of these experiments.

Let me explain how I created this piece.

The floor I created with a gelli plate print that I made with acrylic paints, bubble wrap, and a lace fabric. The girl and doggie are done with watercolour paints, neocolor 2 watersoluble crayons, coloured pencils, and derwernt inktense pencils. Then there are the crochet flower and tatted flower on the left, and the pressed flowers and leaf on the right. Oh, and the birds are done in gouache. And everything mixed together and edited digitally in photoshop. Lol.

And you know what? I love it! And it's so me!


***

SIMPLY NEUTRALS IS TAKING A BREAK


Then there is something else I have been thinking about.

I think it's time we take a break from Simply Neutrals. I need a break anyway, because there are very busy months at art school ahead of me, and I don't want to spread myself too thin.

I'm very sorry, the gatherings at Simply Neutrals are very dear to me, and I know I'm not alone in this. I know how much the gatherings mean to us. So I'm not taking this lightly. Nevertheless, I know very well that from May onward there are a couple of very busy months for me, so I have to take care of myself and take a step back here. If anyone wants to carry on with the party on their own blog, please let me know!

So let's go on with this month's party, which is the last one before taking the break. There will not be a new party in the coming couple of months. I'll let you know when we will start again!



FEATURE OF LAST MONTH


You all know I love birds very much. And textures too! Oh, and everything French :) So it's no small wonder I chose this beautiful collage by Dorthe of DenLilleLade as the feature of last month.


mixed media collage with bird by Dorthe of Den Lillle Lade


I'm always amazed by the beautiful textures Dorthe creates!


Dear Dorthe, here is your feature blog button if you like:




On to this month's party!



SIMPLY NEUTRALS #55


I think you already noticed, but things changed with the linkup tool. The look is different, but they added ad-links too now. After every 5th link. I hope you don't mind, I can't delete those unfortunately.




To join the party, please keep the following things in mind:

1) Please link only to the blogpost that contains the photo(s) you want to share, and not to your blog's homepage.

2) Kindly link back to AppleApricot by putting a link to my blog in your blogpost.

Of course you're most welcome to use the blog button of Simply Neutrals Tuesday as well
(which can be found in the sidebar of my blog)

3) Link ups to both new and older blog posts are welcome.

4) You can link up from your blog, but if you do not have a blog but would love to link up from your instagram or other social media account, that's perfectly fine too.

Beware though, that may be not everyone can come visit and/or leave you a comment there.

5) Please take time to visit some of the other link ups and send them some love.

Time for the link up!

xx Wen


Simply Neutrals Tuesday linky party at AppleApricot


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!
Click here to enter

Simply Neutrals 54 - taking care of yourself


Magnolia illustration for journal cover by Wen Sylvestre


Hello dear friends,

These last months have been a bit of an eye-opener for me. I think I was too hard on myself, expected too much of myself, and pushed too hard to get everything done the best I could. Of course I was feeling exhausted. What's new. So I took the time to get enough rest, clear the space around me, go on a trip with my family, meditate, read books, and so on.

For art school we had to make a journal cover with Magnolias. Since I was in the "zen"-space because of all the things I just mentioned, I came up with this journal cover. The Magnolias gave me this inspiration based on Asian art, and I read a little about the art of Kintsugi, which is the Japanese art of repairing pottery with gold. I created golden cracks in my image above, to symbolize the healing of our own brokeness.

Why not repair our own cracks with gold too, by being gentle with ourselves and taking good care of ourselves?


quote on kindness by AppleApricot Wen


I hope you will take this message to heart yourself as well, my dear friend.

***


FEATURE OF LAST MONTH

I was stunned by the gorgeous cards created by dear Suzy of Suziqu's Threadworks.
Oh   my   goodness   !!!


collaged cards and plant dyes by Suzy of Suziqu's Threadworks


What I absolutely love about these cards is
1) the stunning image of a rose she created herself from a photo she took,
2) the fact that she plant dyes her own papers and fabrics and gets such stunning results,
3) how beautiful everything looks together in colour, texture, prints, etc.


Dear Suzy, here is your well deserved feature blog button if you like:




On to this month's party!




SIMPLY NEUTRALS #54


I think you already noticed, but things changed with the linkup tool. The look is different, but they added ad-links too now. After every 5th link. I hope you don't mind, I can't delete those unfortunately.

And there is another change: Google+ is no more. So if you wish to keep this blog on your blog reading list, make sure to follow my blog through Bloglovin or the good old Google Friend Connect widget. Or by any other way you can follow blogs.




To join the party, please keep the following things in mind:

1) Please link only to the blogpost that contains the photo(s) you want to share, and not to your blog's homepage.

2) Kindly link back to AppleApricot by putting a link to my blog in your blogpost.

Of course you're most welcome to use the blog button of Simply Neutrals Tuesday as well
(which can be found in the sidebar of my blog)

3) Link ups to both new and older blog posts are welcome.

4) You can link up from your blog, but if you do not have a blog but would love to link up from your instagram or other social media account, that's perfectly fine too.

Beware though, that may be not everyone can come visit and/or leave you a comment there.

5) Please take time to visit some of the other link ups and send them some love.

Time for the link up!

xx Wen


Simply Neutrals Tuesday linky party at AppleApricot



Inlinkz Link Party

Gorgeous collage received by Jesse of Lace Age Girl


fabric collage by Jesse of Lace Age Girl


Hello dear friends,

Today I'd like to share with you a gorgeous gift I received, which I mentioned earlier in the last Simply Neutrals post (which you can find HERE, it's still open for new entries). This gorgeous collage is created by dear Jesse of Lace Age Girl. Jesse was so sweet to also send me a beautiful rose patterned piece of fabric, gorgeous lace, sheer fabric, and strips of vintage sewing measurement tape. Dearest Jesse, thank you so much, you're a sweetheart!

You can find Jesse on her beautiful blog Lace Age Girl.


blog header by Jesse of Lace Age Girl

Wishing you a beautiful day!

Big hugs xx

Wen


Simply Neutrals 53 Winter Gatherings of Memories


cat illustration and collage by AppleApricot Wen


Winter gatherings of memories...

Remnants of last year's garden,
forgotten postcard found at an antique market,
stone with holes made by the sea around Great Brittain and picked up on a journey,
ginger cat I painted after a meowing one that followed me around on the streets of an old village,
and some vintage butterflies I found some time ago on the wonderful blog of The Graphics Fairy.

Hello dear friends, it's good to see you again! I've been really busy with art school. It helped me go through a rough time this last month with a dear family member passing away unexpectedly, and a friend who lost her fight against cancer, both in the same week.

But the sun is shining, a new year full of possibilities is ahead of me, and I'm surrounded by love. What else do I need?

Speaking of love, I received some gorgeous mail these last weeks:




Beautiful cards by (clockwise from top left): Kirsty, Odetta, a family friend, and Suzy.
I also received a gorgeous package from Jesse, but I will share this another time with you.


Before going on with Simply Neutrals I have some important news: Blogger / Google is going to stop and delete the Google+ features in the coming weeks. Which means you will no longer be able to follow blogs through Google+.

If you're following my blog through Google+, please make sure to subscribe to my blog in other ways, like Bloglovin.


FEATURE OF LAST MONTH


So many beautiful entries again last month, thank you so much! I love seeing your art works and photos, it's so inspiring! Tracey of HotchPotchCreations shared this beautiful lace collage:


Lace collage by Tracey of HotchPotchCreations


Dear Tracey, here is your feature blog button if you like:




On to this month's party!




SIMPLY NEUTRALS #53


I think you already noticed, but things changed with the linkup tool. The look is different, but they added ad-links too now. After every 5th link. I hope you don't mind, I can't delete those unfortunately.




To join the party, please keep the following things in mind:

1) Please link only to the blogpost that contains the photo(s) you want to share, and not to your blog's homepage.

2) Kindly link back to AppleApricot by putting a link to my blog in your blogpost.

Of course you're most welcome to use the blog button of Simply Neutrals Tuesday as well
(which can be found in the sidebar of my blog)

3) Link ups to both new and older blog posts are welcome.

4) You can link up from your blog, but if you do not have a blog but would love to link up from your instagram or other social media account, that's perfectly fine too.

Beware though, that may be not everyone can come visit and/or leave you a comment there.

5) Please take time to visit some of the other link ups and send them some love.

Time for the link up!

xx Wen


Simply Neutrals Tuesday linky party at AppleApricot